Charleston Rag

The Charleston Rag originally went by other names such as “Sounds of Africa”. Eubie Blake composed this in 1899 while in his early teens. It didn’t get written down until as late as 1917 when it was also made into piano rolls.

Terry Waldo, a student of Eubie Blake, wrote a transcription in 1972 when Blake was in his 90s. Other publicly available sheet music is not of very high quality, so I determined to edit and typeset a version here. I referenced several sources for this:

  • Recording, “Philharmonie”, Berlin (1972)
  • Piano Roll, Haines Bros (1917)
  • Piano Roll, Witmark & Sons (1917)
  • Recording, “The African Rag”, Paramount (1921)
  • Recording, “The 86 Years of Eubie Blake” (1969)

First, a sheet music cover image that I created using Bing Generative AI (DALLE-3) and the GIMP image editing tool:

Here is the transcription (6 pages):

Here is the MIDI player and download: